tv Nightly Business Report PBS December 14, 2012 6:30pm-7:00pm PST
captioning sponsored by wpbt >> this is n.b.r. i am suze guerra, this is the eve of a critical weekend for retailers, will stores be filled with buyers or just browsers? the answers will decide how this holiday season turns out. >> good evening, i am tom hudson just in time for the holidays, cheapers gasoline and the prices could keep falling, they could at all below $3 a gallon in the new year. >> and why a new program to hell student loan borrowers could be a big win for high earners with graduate degrees. >> that and more tonight on nbr. >> we begin the friday broadcast with the count down to for christmas and the retailers. >> so far this holiday shopping
season is really looking rather ho-hum. >> there is still plenty of time to give retailers and their investors a green season, but it is not clear shoppers will turn into buyers in time. susan pratt reports. >> it doesn't >> reporter: it doesn't get more festive than this. or this. or even this. but, just because we've decked the halls, doesn't mean we're hitting the malls. in fact, it looks like u.s. consumers are doing what they do best in mid-decmber: procrastinating. how are you doing on your holiday shopping? >> pretty poorly to be honest with you. my wife typically takes care of most of it. last year, i was definitely ahead of the game. i'm probably 75% to 80% done. fantastic. haven't started yet. hoping to get a jump start on it this trip. >> reporter: retail expert mike niemira says only half of americans polled recently have finished their holiday shopping. >> the consumer is behind on
their completion. that means we rely much more on the next few days for it to pick up dramatically. >> reporter: because of all the fiscal cliff doom and gloom, retailers are worried. and perhaps they should be. after all americans think their personal finances will take a hit next year. and that might mean fewer gifts under the tree. >> we believe that the post black friday lull that we've seen in the last three weeks that consumers are spending at a very restrained rate simply because they don't have the money and there's a little bit of a fear factor out there. >> reporter: but, there are those who say it's wrong to credit the fiscal cliff for the lackluster holiday shopping season. more likely they think shoppers are playing a game of chicken with retailers, waiting for more stores to drop prices. if that's true, shoppers may be disappointed. >> will retailers react to the
softness we've seen, the typical lull? i don't have a sense that that's happening. but, the industry is very fragmented. >> reporter: tomorrow is considered a crucial holiday shopping day. here in manhattan the forecast calls for sunny skies and cool temperatures. perfect for a little spending. suzanne pratt, "n.b.r.," new york. >> well, if you driving to the mall, you are paying a lot less for gas, pump prices are plunging dropping seven and a half percent in november. the national average for gasoline is now $3.30 a gallon. >> and that is the main reason consumer prices were down last month. the index of consumer prices which includes everything from the cost of milk to the price of a haircut fell three-tenths of a percent, that is the largest drop since may. >> but here on wall street investors ignored that up beat news and were fixated on the stalled talks in washington about the fiscal cliff.
>> the dow lost 36 points, the nasdaq down 21, the s and b 500 fell, s&p fell also. >> looking at the outlook for gas and oil prices, we turn to an oil analyst, founding partner at again capital. >> you know, john, i was thinking looking over these numbers a few weeks ago here in the northeast we were paying close to $5 a gallon for gasoline, of course it was because of hurricane sandy and standing in line, gas lines, and now this. i know it is a special situation, but what is going on here? >> well, that was a special situation, it was incredible disruption of the supply chain to the northeast, if you recall, only northern new jersey had to endure the odd, even rationing it shows you how isolated that was, but what is going on here, suze is that the united states is in the process of becoming energy independent, it is in the process of surpassing saudi arabia as the world's number one producer of oil.
because of the shale drilling that going on, mostly in the middle of the country. there is also a massive expansion of a big refinery down in texas, that the saudis are working on with royal dutch shell and the industry is refiguring the infrastructure zero to get more of that mid continent middle of the country oil down to the gulf coast where we could see a tremendous price break next year. >> that is really amazing stuff, let's look at some of the numbers on gas and oil and your outlook, i will put them up here for gasoline prices. they got as high as almost $4 a gallon in april, they are now at $3.30 as we were reporting, you are predicting $2.85 in 2013, so getting below that critical $3 level. looking at oil prices, the high this year, $110 a barrel, they are now hovering in the mid eighties, you are calling for $70, maybe $60, i see some estimates for $50 oil, how realistic is that?
>> it is very realistic. you know, it is funny, we are so accustomed in the past decade or so to being on the edge of the oil equation and by that i mean, we are just -- things are tight, shortages almost if there was any kind of upset in the middle east prices would react violently to the upside but i have been doing this a while and i don't want to date myself but back in 1998 when oil prices fell to about $10 a barrel that was because there was over production, saudi arabia was battling venezuela at the time for market share here in the u.s. and when you talk about 70 or i think merrill lynch's $50 a barrel call, potential call, it is that kind of environment, it is that one i can't there is oil that is being produced really massively in the middle of the country, makes it to the gulf coast, where we see the production in iraq continue to arise, we see the saudis trying to hold on to market share and others that will force this price down, break the back of the entire prices. >> just to wrap it up here i want you to put it in
perspective because consumers and businesses will be very happy with the low energy prices but it also means that prices are down because the economy is not doing so hot, both in the u.s. and globally, right? and that's not a good thing? >> that's right. that's the dark cloud to this silver lining, in that part of this equation and this is not just me forecasting this, opec is worried about it, he stated it, so has the iea if china continues to slow down and they likely will because europe their biggest customer goes into a full-blown recession if not worse, that is going to spell trouble for the global economy, people won't be needing energy and just like we saw in 2008 with the financial crisis, oil gets hit, the prices get hit in that environment, like you said, though, it is a counter cyclical so it is stimulative to the economy, more money in consumers products hopefully to buy and sustain the economy. >> complicated equation there, john, thanks a lot for coming and explaining all of this, have a great weekend. >>
>> still hot on this friday night, u.s. manufacturing staying afloat, the luxury boat business made right here in the usa. >> it is called pay as you earn, it is a new obama administration program to pay off student loans, the starting date to sign up is next friday. but it looks like the plan favors graduate students who get bigger paychecks than low earning workers. >> in the state of >> reporter: in his state of the union address almost a year ago,
the president announced a change to the way some people pay back their student loans. it seemed like a small change. instead of paying 15 percent of their income over 25 years, people who enroll in income- based repayment will now only pay 10% of their income over 20 years. but critics say the new program has a big problem, an accounting flaw that could lead to a big windfall for high-earning graduate degree holders. >> you've got a moral hazard. you've got an incentive to borrow away knowing that you're not going to have to pay it back. >> reporter: here's how it can be a problem-- graduate students can borrow an unlimited amount of money to pay for school. they start their careers with small or moderate salaries, making monthly payments of 10% of their income. but remember, grad students often become very high earners, like doctors and lawyers. as their salaries increase, the monthly payments on the student loans are capped based on the borrower's debt at graduation. that means when the debt is forgiven. there could be a whole lot left. >> cutting off payments after 20 years and forgiving your remaining debt is not long enough to essentially claw back the benefit that they got when their income was low. so the system never really rights itself.
so if you earn a middle or low income and you have a lot of student loan debt, but go on to earn a high income later in your career, it never catches up with you. >> reporter: since the program is new, this theory hasn't bee tested. but financial adivsors are telling graduate students to take a close look at the program. >> there will be people that are that the new program applies to that the old program did not. there will also be people that are able to have forgiven debt through the new version of the program that the old program did not. >> reporter: advocates of the program agree the new system does have some holes, but they think the vast majority of people who enroll, even graduate students, really do need the help. >> if you are someone who is initially taking advantage of income-based repayment, it's because one of those factors hasn't worked out for you in the immediate short term. >> reporter: one thing to remember-- all debt that is forgiven through income-based repayment is taxable. so without major policy changes, borrowers who do enroll in the program need to plan to pay uncle sam. sylvia hall, "n.b.r.," washington. >> out of europe today, regulators took a step toward con pistol indicating oversight of banks, the european central bank says it is taking charge of banking supervision overseeing at least 150 major euro zone
banks, ucb says the move will help make the region's financial institutions more secure but more needs to be done to keep europe's debt crisis from escalating. >> >> fewer smokestacks and tail pipes may be seen in u.s. skylines in the coming years. the environmental protection agency is tightening standards for soot pollution in a decision that could open the door to more emission limits, the rules come on the heels of a federal decision that cuts back the amount of soot that can be in the air. >> this will help decrease heart
and lung problems, critics say it will discourage investment. >> speaking of investment, the biggest sharehold search getting more time to buyback the company he founded, richard schultz now has to the end of february to come up with more bank financing. that extension sent shares down almost 15 percent, closing at $12 and reversing yesterday's gains. >> schultz is expected to offer as much as $6 billion for the world's biggest electronics chain. >> well, a lot of back and forth here on wall street, fiscal cliff, fiscal cliff, that is the conversation no matter what is happening with apple, best buy, you name the company. >> if only there was more conversation about fiscal cliff, toward a solution maybe, suze, we will see these markets get a bit more volatile. >> really calm markets overall on this friday, in our market focus we did see the major indy the major stock indices saw small losses again today, but continued to trade in narrow ranges. the s&p 500 spent the entire session in negative territory, getting no buying momentum from the drop in consumer inflation. the worst level of the day came less than an hour before the
closing bell with the index finishing down 0.4% volume was 672 million shares on the big board. 1.8 billion on the nasdaq. today's drop erased the gains for the week. the dow fell 0.2% this week. the nasdaq slipped the same. and the s&p 500 is 0.3% lower tonight compared to a week ago. the technology sector led the losers, falling one percent. the sole sector in the green was the materials sector, up 0.9%. apple was one of the culprits of the weakness in the market. hitting the stock today was a research note from investment bank jefferies indicating some apple suppliers have received cuts in their orders. it could be an indication production bottlenecks for the iphone five have not been solved. shares fell 3.8%. volume was heavier than usual. tonight's close takes apple shares below their mid-november
low, falling to their lowest price since february. there have also been concerns about reports of a less than spectacular launch of the iphone five in beijing china. and some key apple suppliers were caught up in the selling. qualcomm makes the wireless semiconductors for the iphones. qualcomm dropped 4.7%. volume tripled. jabil circuit shed 5.5% on heavier volume. at least 10 percent of jabil's sales come from apple. and cirrus logic makes audio semiconductors for iphones. its stock fell 6.7%. software company adobe fought against the weakness in technology. adobe is known for its photoshop and other design software products. last night it reported stronger than expected earnings leading to a stock rally today. shares rallied 5.7% as volume jumped almost six fold. this is a post-recession high for adobe. meantime, in the materials sector, steel stocks were the flavor of the day thanks to stronger than expected manufacturing data out of china. u.s. steel led the gains, shooting up 6.8%.
volume more than doubled with the stock finishing at its highest price since may. and iron ore miner. cliffs natural resources jumped 5.2%. iron ore is used to power steel- making furnaces. many of these steel-focused stocks have been under pressure over questions about chinese demand. the early flu season this year has claimed the corporate outlook for centene. centene is a medicaid managed insurance provider. it cut its 2012 financial forecast thanks to a more intense flu season pushing its costs up. that hit its own shares, falling 9.5%. competitor wellcare also was hit falling 7.9%. four of the five most actively traded exchange traded products were lower. the emerging markets fund was the lone gainer up 0.4% and that's tonight's market focus.
ok through the fiscal cliff, not to the fiscal cliff, that is the advice from our friday night market monitor, sandy lincoln back with us, the chief strategist, from the cme group in chicago, sandy, it is great to see you again. >> i appreciate it. >> are you suggesting investors ignore all of the fiscal cliff worry and the threat of that cliff? >> well, i don't know what we are going to do with the obsession about the fiscal cliff ever goes away, but i think you do have to sort of look beyond the fiscal cliff, not just to the fiscal cliff. there is a lot of obsession about it for understandable reasons, if they dig in their heels there is real fiscal drag
involved, we don't think that is is that is the likely scenario, we think it is much more likely they downsize the size of the cliff and maybe knock half of it off and work on the rest in early 2013, but the more important thing, tom, i think is the secular things they can do in first half of 2013 to improve the trajectory of what we are doing with our entitlement programs and with tax reforms, and if they do that, that is what i mean by looking through the cliff, if those things happen, 200013 could set up and trigger a lot of good catalysts not just in the u.s. but around the world. >> yes that's the big enchilada you are talking about with entitlement reform and tax reform, what lies beyond the cliff or for that matter, you know, what with relooking at in terms of the economy beyond it? >> well, i think if you look at three big factors, tom, europe has gotten better by far, we have got much lower interest rates than europe, much more resolve, stock markets are up nicely there, china which was in free fall, started to rebound, manufacturing started to rebound, gdp is rebound, use of
electricity is starting to rebound, exports rebound, you filter all of those in the u.s. where you sit in the u.s. with a consumer that has got five-year high of consumer confidence, we have got housing inventories that at a four-year low, housing prices up 11 percent year over year, double digit growth in autos and auto loans so to me it looks like the consumer is poised, corporations are lean on the balance sheet side, it looks like if you trigger good secular things and trajectory on the fiscal things in the u.s. you could have a heck of a second six months in 2013 in the market. >> a lot of optimism and you are playing it at a movie theaters and begins with lions gate entertainment whomplts knew you were a teenage vampire fan with the twilight movie series, the stock has done nicely this year, how much more do you see the run? >> well, i think there is more in it. you know, they not only own the twilight saga and hunger games which are begging obviously for sequels but big tv production studio as well, have mad men,
weed, anger management, a lot of food renewal seasons ahead for those and lots of sequels on the movies, the stock is only 11 times earnings, we think there is more to go, although the name has done well. >> aqua financial a new pick here, ocn. >> this stock shot more than double this year, 34 and change, how much higher in the next twelve months, do you think? >> well, i think it can go higher, it had a little pullback today and i think it is attractive on pullback, they are the low cost producer of servicing mortgage debt, particularly the low quality sub prime mortgage debt, new york banks want out of that, they have gotten the book from j.p. morgan, morgan stanley, goldman sachs, they are the low cost producer provider, only sell nine or ten times forward earnings, the valuation is expensive and i think the stock has room to go and maybe another two or three years to it. >> you have positions in both of those shares, sandy? >> the firm has position in the small growth and mid growth mutual fund. >> from the cme at sandy lincoln, with bmo asset
management. >> coming up next week on nbr, monday is free shipping day, more than 1,000 retailers are expected to pick up the delivery bills and we will tag along with ups delivery truck and on monday we talk with the ceo of giovanni this yogurt companies makes up half of the greek yogurt market and growing. >> the china economy is also growing again, a new survey shows chinese factories have been busy this month with manufacturing activity hitting its highest level in more than a year, this could signal china's economy is on track to grow as much as eight percent in the fourth quarter that, is much higher than expected. >> it wasn't just china, u.s. factories also humming ago in november, humming along in, especially with manufacturers in the northeast being idle thanks to super storm sandy, auto parts helped pick up the pace. >> industrial public shun in the u.s. jumped 1.1 percent in november. >> described as widespread across industries, and that is
pretty good news for american manufacturing workers, including those in the boat building business. >> reporter: a 42-foot cigarette racing team boat gets pulled out of the plant on its way to biscayne bay for a test run in the atlantic ocean. this is the end of a months long process for cigarette racing boats, one of the better known american-built luxury boat manufacturers. don't let the name of the company fool you. they don't actually race boats anymore, at least not formally. but with four engines pushing 1,200 horse-power behind them, these are six-figure performance boats, capable of topping 70 miles an hour on the water. >> our biggest customers are lifestyle addicts. people that like something that is very special, very unique and very custom for them. >> reporter: c.e.o. skip braver has owned cigarette racing team for the past decade, weathering the rough waters of boat- building. >> when the marine industry was in the worst shape we were putting more and more money into retooling like this boat,
building new boats and so what our opinion was to put more money back into the economy to build better things to keep our people working and get more people working in the market was a good time for us. >> this is beginning to take the shape of what will be about a $750,000 cigarette boat. this is the deck part. it's actually turned upside down. you'd wind up standing on the bottom side. they turn it upside down. all this is made with american workers here in south florida. they take the deck part and then they put it into a hull which they've manufactured separately. it all it's about 5,000 man hours process to get a finished boat. about four or five month manufacturing time but business has been good enough there's actually a wait list. it's different for american mega-yacht builder trinity yachts. it's tough to call these boats with prices in the eight figure range or more. sales have slowed for its customers. >> in uncertain times, they tend to become a bit more financially conservative. unfortunately, the other thing we feel is that we feel that
there's class warfare. it's making some of the clients reluctant to be seen purchasing an asset like this. >> reporter: it may be difficult to think of these high-priced luxury items as helping the economy but the builders argue it's not about price, but where that money is spent. >> because of this whole one per cent, class warfare and everything, i think its critical that the public understand that these yachts-- forget who the owner is and everything- that's not the important thing, the important thing is that because they're buying these boats, it gives us a chance to have manufacturing jobs. as one person said, if were really interested in redistributing the wealth, a yacht is one of the most effective ways of doing that. >> competition can be tough, no matter which field you work in, but one way to get ahead is by standing out, this week lucid thinking about street sweepers, here is author and educator lou
hef her. >> what have you done recently to astonish your customers? >> one of karl sewell's car dealer ships in dallas he was concerned the street out in front of his dealership was not as clean as he thought it could be. >> the city street sweepers didn't come often enough so he bought his own street sweeper and has one of his staff people take care of that frequently. it is a be bit extreme i know that but at some level it has to register with his customers and pay him back in many, many ways, as i travel the world i love spotting examples of great customer service and hospitality, such as the coffee shop who writes, enjoy with whip cream on the top of a the bellman who goes to a neighboring hotel to find a foam pillow for me. the water dish for pets outside a bakery in our neighborhood. none of these is going to win a major business prize, but they do this: they separate themselves from the competition and give us a reason to keep coming back. i don't know what business you are in, but i know lots of other people speak and write like i do, i am always looking for ways
to offer something that others do not. ask your staff, ask your customers, what's our version of street sweeping? i'm lou heckler. >> finally tonight, the story we have to acknowledge, many of us with kids, grandkids, nieces and nephews here, suze, this horrific tragedy that developed in new town, connec connecticuta gunman opened fired this morning, 20 school children, six adults are among the dead, just an awful scene playing out there today in connecticut, and certainly this evening our thoughts and prayers tonight are with those victims and their families. >> you know, tom, just no words describe the senseless, tragic, traumatic for everybody involved and for those of us watching all of this, i just hope law enforcement officials and lawmakers do something that we only hear about these things in the future as, that is happening much too often and we are hearing the stories of uncommon heroism coming out of these stories again. >> in is nightly business report on december 14th, have a safe